The Federal Government has called on stakeholders to collaborate with Government in the campaign against workplace harassment and violence in the country.
Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the call in Abuja, as he flagged off a two-day Stakeholders Sensitization Workshop on ILO Convention 190 (C190) on Violence and Harassment and Elimination of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the Workplace.
Ngige, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, stated that Convention 190 is the first international treaty to recognize the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.
He said that eliminating harassment and violence in the workplace aligned with the Federal Government’s determination to create an enabling working environment for men and women in the country, as applicable in developed economies of the world.
The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government was committed to ratifying ILO Convention 190 Recommendation 206 on Violence and Harassment to strengthen already existing institutional and legal framework to fight violence and harassment, as well as GBV in the country.
He stated that the workshop was to create awareness and sensitize stakeholders and the general public on the ills of gender-based violence, as well as the importance of C190 in combating violence and harassment, including GBV in the world of work.
According to Ngige, the workshop was to generate awareness among the relevant stakeholders on the need to ratify the Convention.
Ngige stated that C190 represented an opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect for all, adding that creating awareness on the importance of C190 would serve to generate public acceptance of it.
He noted that GBV would impact negatively on the world of work, and impede the realisation of “Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 5 and 8on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Decent Work and Economic Growth respectively.”
The Minister disclosed that “due to the critical nature of the Convention, ILO has embarked on a global campaign to build support for C190, inviting all its constituents, stakeholders and civil society to join hands to ensure wide acceptance of the Convention.
“This is with the goal of having Member States ratify and implement the provisions of the Convention all around the world.
“It is expected that Governments of Member States that ratify C190 will put in place the necessary laws and policy measures to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work.”
He remarked that as part of effort to check violence and harassment, and GBV, Nigeria already had in place a Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on Gender Based Violence.
Others are “efforts by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to declare a state of emergency on Gender-Based Violence; the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee; the Senate approved of the Sexual Harassment Bill.
“Furthermore, in June 2021, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Police, and the National Agency for the Prohibition if Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) signed an agreement to formally join forces to combat GBV.”
In welcoming the participants, Permanent Secretary, Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, disclosed that the workshop, as part of the preliminary activities towards ratification, was convened to ensure wide acceptance and facilitate a smooth ratification of ILO Convention 190.
Represented by Ag. Director, Productivity Measurement and Kabour Standards department, Mrs A. J. Adebambo, Tarfa added that though Nigeria was yet to RATIFY C190, the Federal Government had always ensured best practices in Labour Administration.
In a goodwill message, the Director, ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Ms Vanessa Phala, represented by Mrs Chinyere Emeka-Anunu, pledged the commitment of ILO to continue supporting Nigerua as it embarked on the journey for the ratification and implementation of C190.
Present at the event were representatives of Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Consultstive Association (NECA), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC).